Stone Country

 Posted by
Sep 212015

Mick Jagger helps his old pal Don Henley sing a Tift Merritt song “Bramble Roaw” on his new Cass County album out this week. My first Stones record was Some Girls, and before I knew any of the backstory of the Stones and their dalliance with Gram Parsons, I was surprised by the stone country sound of “Far Away Eyes.” Now I always got the joke, but damn, I always enjoyed the song, and I’m sure it was one of the reasons I became more open to listening to my mom’s Johnny Cash records, and later fell into the rathole of alt-country for about 10 years. (Aside — a guy who worked at country station in Belle Fouche, SD, told me he almost got fired for playing “Eyes” in the early ’80s — he spun it once and only once.)

My question is — what songs would you put on a Stones, Jagger, Keef country compilation? Are there any country-tinged songs on solo records that are not well known for this compilation? In addition, I’ll offer up Mick’s “Evening Gown” above. Thanks for your ideas!

Dec 022014


Bobby Keys, best known for his sax work on The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street and Stones concert tours of that era, has died at 70 of cirrhosis. My favorite Keys memories involve countless rants from my close personal friend and founding Townsman E. Pluribus Gergely. Somewhere in the archives there’s probably an entire thread built around one of EPG’s Keys rants, but a taste of his thoughts on the man are available in this old thread. Track 5, specifically, cites Keys’ work. What’s your favorite Bobby Keys moment?

Oct 202014

While flipping the radio dial between sport-talk radio ads on my ride home from work last week I landed on the opening measures of one of the most perfect (and perfect-sounding) songs in my world: “Beast of Burden,” by The Rolling Stones. The coming updates on the Eagles’ (my hometown football team, not the band) bye week, following the commercial break, could wait. I had to listen to this soulful gem all the way through!

At the song’s conclusion, the DJ came on and said, “That was some early Stones: ‘Beast of Burden,’ off 1978’s Some Girls album!”

First, I felt like the DJ was an idiot. Then, I felt like I was 100 years old. Finally, considering the Stones have survived 36 years since that album, it could technically be  considered a song from their “early” period.

I know the Stones are old, but jeez…

Jun 132013


Let’s play Rock ‘n Roll General Managers, shall we? You are the GM of The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. Your mission is to put together a trade with your respected and beloved rival band that benefits both bands. It can be a one-for-one trade or a multi-musician deal. The bands can even trade trademark songs. As Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy League Commissioner, I may even approve a 3-band deal, involving personnel from one of the other big British Invasion bands. My role in these decisions, of course, will be guided by the Best Interests of the Game.

Although longtime friendly rivals, The Beatles and The Stones do not have a long record of musician transactions. The lads from Liverpool did help launch the career of the the scruffy London upstarts by dealing them “I Wanna Be Your Man” to for future considerations. John Lennon and Keith Richard barnstormed in The Dirty Mac. Brian Jones took batting practice with The Beatles’ on a silly B-side. Art dealer Robert Fraser shows up in the biographies of both bands. I believe a young American photographer named Linda Eastman was scouted by The Stones before landing in Paul McCartney’s pad. Billy Preston is probably the one musician closely identified with both bands. Therefore, Preston is NOT eligible for any trade between these bands. Regarding another man closely identified with both bands, The Stones have already declared “No trade-backs!” on Allen Klein.

Stones’ GMs may trade from their band’s full array of “other” guitarists along with dedicated sidemen, like Ian Stewart and Bobby Keys. Stones’ wives and longtime lovers are not untouchable. Even outright hangers-on, such as drug dealer “Spanish Tony” Sanchez, are in play. Likewise, Beatles’ GMs may select from their deep roster of engineers, sidemen, wives, hangers-on, and hagiographers.

Let the trade talks begin!

Jun 102013
Let's stick together.

Let’s stick together.

A recent Rolling Stone feature on The Rolling Stones featured the 8,456,201st telling of what may be the oldest story in the book of rock: the rapprochement of the Glimmer Twins, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. In my rock magazine-reading lifetime, these articles date back to the release of Some Girls. I wouldn’t be surprised if this story extends back a few album releases/tours earlier. The reasons for the divide shift slightly from personal/artistic- to personal/business-rooted interests as the years pass, but the narrative always drives at the same conclusions: Divided, the Stones give us the New Barbarians/X-Pensive Winos and Mick Jagger solo albums; united, the treat us to another greatest hits package, a world tour, and whatever new dirt can be scraped from surviving band members’ yellowing fingernails. For this, we give thanks and praise.

Is there an older, more frequently told story in rock than the rapprochement of Keef and Mick, and all the mixed emotions their union represents to rock’s core values?


RIP Andy Johns

 Posted by
Apr 082013


He was a Great Man who engineered Exile on Main Street, The Greatest Record Ever Made.

On coming to America, from an interview on

I came over here in 1970, because I was working with Jimmy Miller and he was an American who had a production company out here. The studios were a little behind the times, though. When I was mixing “Stairway to Heaven” over at Sunset Sound and I wanted to pan something, I said, “You don’t have pan pots on the channels.” They responded, “We have a pan pot. Bring on the pan pot!” They bring out this guy on a gurney, you know? A big box with a huge knob, a pan pot man. Christ, the Americans sent someone to the moon, but they only had one pan pot. It was like having one meatball. You can have all the bread you want, but only with one meatball.


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